WTNYMarch 16, 2004
By Bryan Smith

First of all, let me start with a thank you. My site, the one here at All-Baseball, topped 10,000 visitors in it’s first month. This was largely due to the press from my top 50 prospect list, but hopefully I can keep this pace up regardless. I write here to be heard, and I can’t explain how great it is to have an audience.

Speaking of that, thank you for everyone who started to check out the Hardball Times yesterday. We are very proud of the project, both visually and in content. This is a place you should be checking everyday, as there should many articles published each day. My two article a week schedule will make my post lightly (see today) two days a week, so please have patience with me. I’ll have five articles published each week, but some of them will be over at THT. My first is a preview on the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, who I actually found quite interesting when doing research. For information on the wildness triple crown, Rocco Baldelli’s future, and B.J. Upton’s comparisons, check out the preview.

Also at THT today is Aaron Gleeman’s top 25 prospects, a day after publishing his 26-50. Gleeman is very high on his catchers, but with this group, rightfully so. He has two members of my top five way down, but I can’t understand Joe Blanton in the top 15. Gleeman does a great job, it’s obvious he’s done his research, so you should definitely go check that out.

By publishing his list so late, Aaron was able to take into account the recent injury of Greg Miller. A top ten prospect on my list, the Dodger southpaw will likely be out this season, obviously injuring his future greatly. Peter Gammons notes that this brings back the high school pitchers debate, but it’s very easy to point at Cole Hamels as defense. Miller will be missed in this system, but Edwin Jackson is an ace and Joel Hanrahan is pretty underrated. Paul DePodesta plus $100 million can’t hurt either, so my prediction of the Dodgers being annual champions in about three years still stands.

Eric Chavez signs a six-year, $66M deal with the Athletics. Dave Stewart did a nice job here, there aren’t many teams willing to give six years to a player anymore. Chavez is a fairly safe bet, although six years presents a long time for Beane to get screwed. Chavez is also one of the more platoonable players in the game, but will make $11M per year on his ability to hit right-handers. Eric is a great start for any team, and oh yeah, don’t they have some pitching in Oakland too?

Also, scary news for Cubs fans...every member of All-Baseball predicts a Cubs NL Central title. Our fourth roundtable was published yesterday, and judging by the response we’ve received from the first three, we want to keep them coming. Comments on the All-Baseball homepage, this site, or The Hardball Times are more than welcomed, as I guarantee your voice can be heard. I’ll be writing more later this week, but enjoy what’s at your disposal now...